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Can fasting improve health? Intermountain Healthcare conducting study to find out

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MURRAY — Diana Jensen is a nurse and busy mom of three. She’s constantly serving others, but when her doctor saw unusual test results, she decided to do something for herself.

“My numbers were looking kind of prediabetic and that had me concerned,” Jensen said.

With a family history of diabetes, Jensen decided she didn’t want to take any risks. “My father actually was a Type 2 diabetic, and so I didn’t want to follow down that course. I wanted to see if I could change that,” she said.

Jensen signed up for a trial sponsored by Intermountain Medical Center to see if intermittent fasting could improve her health. It's called "The WONDERFUL Trial." The hospital is on a mission to see if intermittent fasting is just another weight loss fad or an actual healthy practice.

With doctor supervision, Jensen fasted 24 hours about once a week for six months.

“I just really was curious to see if fasting would actually improve how my blood numbers looked,” she said.

A nurse took her baseline measurements and tracked her progress along the way.

Jensen said it was hard. “You don’t realize how many things are involved with eating,” she said. Her kids were bummed she had to miss their tradition of special Sunday breakfasts.

Her 10-year-old son, Jim Jensen, said, “It was just really confusing for me. I’m like, ‘When is this gonna end?’”

Her older son, Jack Jensen, even tried to tempt her by saying, “Hey, mom, want some cinnamon rolls?”

But Jensen proved faithful. At the conclusion of the trial, she found that her cholesterol and blood glucose levels, in fact, improve.

Diana Jensen is a busy nurse and mom of three. She participated in a trial sponsored by Intermountain Healthcare to see if intermittent fasting could improve her health. (Photo: KSL TV)
Diana Jensen is a busy nurse and mom of three. She participated in a trial sponsored by Intermountain Healthcare to see if intermittent fasting could improve her health. (Photo: KSL TV)

She discussed her results with Dr. Benjamin Horne, who is conducting the study. Jensen was the perfect candidate, Horne said. “We are looking at prediabetics or people who some type of metabolic or cardiovascular concern,” he added.

Horne is on a mission “to make sure they don’t get these dread, chronic diseases that plague our society today.”

He is hoping to find similar results for everyone. If fasting is an alternative to strong medications, Jensen said it’s totally worth it. Her kids agree, even though she couldn’t have Sunday breakfast with them.

Jack Jensen said he wants his mom to be healthy, live long, and to “do more things with us like play basketball.”

Horne is still looking for more patients to finish the study. To participate individuals must have one of the following risk factors: prediabetes, diet-controlled Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or be overweight.

Participants must be 21-60 years old and cannot be taking Statin medications. Visit Intermountain Healthcare to learn more about how you can join the trial.


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